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O2 XDA Atom Life (3G & HSDPA)
Mobile Phones | First Looks
Thu 01 Mar 2007

Atomic Powers on Your Hands

The XDA Atom Life is the first 3G PDA phone in the Atom series with a second camera for video calls.

The onboard camera in the new XDA Atom Life is still the same 2.0-megapixel variant as its predecessor.

All sides of the XDA Atom Life are lined with a silver-gray strip with buttons that are flushed to the surface.

While the main focus of new phones recently released by O2 were designed for those requiring email and other business oriented applications on the go, one model with a slightly different disposition is the XDA Atom Life. More of a portable multimedia handset, the Atom Life boasts a fast Intel XScale PXA 270 processor that runs at a staggering clock speed of 624MHz. Besides this astonishing jump in processing power, the Atom Life also comes with a massive 1GB flash memory that is more than sufficient for you to install and store a host of applications, music and video files before you even consider purchasing additional memory card.

Genie in a bottle

While new, the XDA Atom Life retains a similar form factor and design principle as its predecessors but is five grams heavier. Compared to the XDA Atom Exec however, the Atom Life looks more grown up, mainly because of the silver-gray strip that runs all around the sides and a second camera for 3G video calls. The subtle but refreshing design facelift was also extended to the 2.0-megapixel camera located at the back of the phone. The entire area around the sensor now looks neater from the relocation of the white LED strobe flash and self portrait preview mirror.

At the bottom the speakers are now powered by SRS WOW HD surround sound technology, vastly improving overall audio playback clarity. While audio output was found to be impressive, less can be said about the visual quality from its 2.7-inch TFT QVGA LCD. With 262K colors available, there was nothing to complain about color vibrancy when enjoying a slideshow or video, but the whole experience could have been more enjoyable had it not been for poor viewing angle, particularly in landscape viewing orientation.

Fortunately, text on the screen was very sharp, making reading documents and web pages a pleasant experience.

The fun begins

Given the fast processing power and huge internal memory, the XDA Atom Life is practically egging to be abused, which we did. Be it intensive game emulators or XviD video files encapsulated in AVI format, the handset managed to breeze through effortlessly without so much as a stutter. Native video playback of our 300MB XviD video file of VGA resolution via Windows Media Player (version 10.3) left the deepest impression as we didn't need to source and install a third party player such as Core Media, for example.

Other than the standard set of applications that comes together with Windows Mobile 5.0, O2 has thrown in several unique applications to increase the value of owning an XDA Atom Life. One such application we liked most was the O2 MediaPlus, which is to PDA phones what Windows Media Centre Edition is to Home Theatre PCs. With it, you will have quick and easy access to music, photos and video through just one graphical user interface.

Closing thoughts

Looking at its list of hardware that includes A2DP Bluetooth support, Wi-Fi, 3G and HSDPA connectivity, and software it packs, the XDA Atom Life is very loaded to say the least. Yet, it is packaged and delivered to you in the same handy form that has won hearts the world over. Battery life was also good, delighting us for nearly three full days. That said, you can expect it to command a high asking price of about US$910. As it is right now, the XDA Atom Life is easily one, if not the best PDA phone that you can buy.

Product Specifications

  • Intel XScale PXA 270 Processor at 624 MHz
  • Memory: 1GB Flash ROM, 64MB RAM and mini-SD expandable memory slot
  • Tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900
  • UMTS 1900/2100
  • 2.7-inch TFT QVGA LCD display with 262K colors
  • 2.0-megapixel camera with flash strobe 
  • SRS WOW HD support
  • Built-in Wireless LAN 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth Version 1.2 with A2DP Profile
  • Dimensions: 105 x 58 x 18 mm (H x W x D)
  • Weight: 145g (with battery)